It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s A Volkswagen? Automaker Unveils “Passenger Drone” Prototype In China


Automakers are increasingly looking to the sky and the latest is Volkswagen, which has unveiled their V.MO “passenger drone” prototype.

Introduced by Volkswagen Group China, the V.MO is an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft that is nicknamed the “Flying Tiger.”

Part helicopter and part drone, the V.MO features an “X-wing configuration” as well as eight rotors for lift and two additional rotors for propulsion. The model measures 36.7 feet (11.2 meters) long and has a wing span of 34.8 feet (10.6 meters).

Also Read: Porsche Will Make A Premium Flying Car With Boeing

While the V.MO is currently a prototype, Volkswagen said the model could transport four passengers and their luggage up to 124 miles (200 km) in its final form. The company also added the aircraft is “based on existing solutions for autonomous driving and battery technologies for emission-free mobility.”

Volkswagen Group China was coy on specifics, but their Vertical Mobility project was launched in 2020 and the prototype will undergo a series of “technical optimization” test flights later this year. Learnings from this experience will be incorporated into a more advanced prototype, which is slated to take to the skies in the summer of 2023.

Flying passenger drones are outside of the company’s traditional wheelhouse, but Volkswagen noted “urban air mobility promises to become an important market segment.” As the automaker explained, eVTOL aircraft are expected to become popular for short and medium distance transport, especially in and between big cities. This is especially true in China, where congestion clogs roads and a VIP V.MO shuttle could transport passengers “faster, more efficiently and more flexibly than the currently available terrestrial means of transport.”

There’s no word on when the V.MO will be launched, but Volkswagen said the aircraft is expected to be offered as a “premium product for wealthy tech-savvy customers in China.” Volkswagen Group China CEO Dr Stephan Wöllenstein added, “We want to bring this concept to series production in the long term and, like a ‘Flying Tiger’, assume a pioneering role in this new and dynamic mobility market.”


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